Canadian Manufacturing

Albertans are the least afraid in Canada to return to their physical workplace: poll

As many as 87% of Albertans trust their employer to take and maintain all necessary health and safety precautions

August 6, 2020  by CM Staff

Reopening for business adapt to new normal in the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.(Chansom Pantip/Adobe Stock)

CALGARY, Alta. — While almost all Albertans (90%) believe COVID-19 is far from over, nearly six in 10 (57%) are not afraid of returning to their physical workplace despite how contagious the virus is, finds a new poll by KPMG in Canada.

As many as 87% of Albertans trust their employer to take and maintain all necessary health and safety precautions, well above the 82% national average.

“While Albertans are the least afraid in Canada about returning to their workplace, they are placing a great deal of trust in their employers to manage their return and in keeping them safe,” said Stavros Demetriou, a partner in KPMG’s people and change management consulting practice, based in Calgary, in a prepared statement. “The pandemic is forcing every employer in the country to adopt comprehensive protocols and safety measures, and to look at new ways of staying connected to their employees.”

Key Poll Highlights

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  • 90% of Albertans believe COVID-19 is far from over, compared to 94% nationally.
  • 81% worry about getting COVID-19 or transmitting it to their loved ones, versus the national average of 83%.
  • 43% admit they’re afraid of returning to the workplace given how contagious the COVID-19 virus is.
  • That’s below the national average of 54%, in line with Quebec at 44%, and sharply lower than neighbouring British Columbia at 60%.
  • Only 44% of Albertans said they don’t need to go back to their workplace because their employer lets them do their job from home, compared to 51% nationally.
  • 66% say they don’t mind returning to their physical workplace now because COVID cases are relatively low, but they think a second wave of infections this fall or winter will shut down workplaces all over again.
  • 67% would feel much or somewhat better about heading back into their physical workplace if their employer kept them updated in real-time about the level of health risk at their office and provided resources to foster their health and well-being.
  • 56% say they will refuse to return to their workplace if they don’t feel safe.
  • 87% trust their employer to take and maintain all the necessary health and safety precautions, compared to 82% nationally.

The KPMG poll finds that 70% of Albertans are satisfied with their work-from-home environment, and half (51%) say they feel more productive, compared to 59% nationally.

Still, they also say it’s difficult to connect with their co-workers. Over half (56%) – versus 59% nationally – say their relationship with their co-workers is weaker in their current virtual work-from-home environment. They agree that in-person communication over any other form is preferable and key to successfully building and maintaining long-term business relationships.

The poll findings reveal that nearly nine in 10 Albertans would be more loyal to their employer or willing to give the extra effort when they know their company cares and is focused on keeping them safe. That’s well above the national average of 84%.

KPMG recently launched a new mobile app, called the KPMG Workplace Safeguarding App. The App, which does not geo-track employees and is technology agnostic, helps employers to connect with their workforce, notifying them of urgent news, required actions, office open or closed status, and the level of health risk for that office.

“Albertans are looking for tools they can trust to keep them safe in these unprecedented times,” said Demetriou. “Our app helps make managing who returns to the workplace, when, and where much smoother. Because we designed it to be easy to use, employers will find that our app will help drive employee trust, engagement, and loyalty.”

The App is to be used as a front-end component of broader workplace operational health and safety measures aligned to best practices and provincial standards within the COVID-19 context.

KPMG used Methodify, an online research automation platform, to survey 1,010 Canadians between July 22 and 24.